Q&A on the Philosophy of Sankardev

Arunava Gupta

[For an introduction to the philosophy of Sankardev , see this page.]

1. What, in a nutshell, is the philosophy of Sankardev?
The embodied personality (jiva) is in the same ontological category as God who is the supreme spiritual personality (purusa). Primal matter (prakrti) is actuated for creation by the Lord.

2. What is the name given to the philosophy of Sankardev?
The philosophy of Sankardev may be referred to as “Mahapurusism” due to its emphasis on the supreme purusa as the controller of both purusa and prakrti.

3. On what book, primarily, is the philosophy of Sankardev based?
Sankaradeva’s philosophy is the same as the philosophy of Mahapurusism that is contained in the Bhagavata Purana.

4. Is the creation unreal according to Sankardev?
If, by “unreal,” “figment of imagination” is meant, then it is not so in Sankardev. The creation (jagat) is very much real. It is unreal only in the sense of “unconscious.”

5. What is the relationship between God and the world in the philosophy of Sankardev?
God (Krsna), in Sankaradeva’s philosophy, is completely spiritual and conscious (caitanya). The “world” or the “creation,” which is completely unconscious and insentient (jada), is evolved by God out of prakrti, the purely unconscious primordial material substance.

6. What is the relationship between God and the individual soul in the philosophy of Sankardev?
The individual soul (purusa, jiva) is considered to be a minuscule portion (amsa) of God. But this does not mean literally an amsa. The meaning is that the individual souls fall into the same ontological—purely conscious, eternal, non-evolving—category as God; however, their consciousness is minuscule compared to God who is the supremely conscious spiritual personality.

7. Is God formless in the philosophy of Sankardev?
God is of most beautiful and most captivating transcendental form in Sankardev. This form of God is immaterial (aprakrta) and not limited by adjuncts (upadhi) in any way.

8. Is God both conscious and unconscious in the philosophy of Sankardev?
God is only of the essential characteristic of pure consciousness in Sankardev.

9. Is the creation different from God in the philosophy of Sankardev?
The creation is, in reality, different from God in the philosophy of Sankardev. God is the conscious creator; he evolves the unconscious creation out of prakrti. And the distinction between God and prakrti, being of fundamental character, persists eternally.

Editor’s Notes

1. This article is a reproduction of Q&A on the Philosophy of Sankaradeva written by Arunava Gupta. It is available on his blog eka-sarana.blogspot.com.

2. The name “শঙ্কৰদেৱ” is most appropriately transliterated into Latin as “Sankaradeva” (IAST Śaṅkaradeva). It is a lossless transliteration that does not omit the “a” sound after the “r” and the “v.” It is the policy of ATributeToSankaradeva.org to adhere to this scheme of transliteration (i.e. IAST without diacritical marks). However, in print and on the web, the name of the saint is frequently found transliterated as “Sankardev” or “Sankardeva.” While searching on the internet, many people use these two transliterations. Google seems not to recognize these two terms as pointing to “Sankaradeva.” As a result, ATributeToSankaradeva.org fares rather poorly in the Google search listings for “Sankardev” and “Sankardeva.” It is in order to remedy this problem that, in this page, we have departed from our policy and adopted the transliteration “Sankardev.”

[For other documents and articles on the Sankardev Movement, visit